Mark Rypien, the former NFL quarterback best known for his time with the Redskins, is the latest former player to open up about his mental health struggles.
“I suffer from a complex stew of mental health conditions,” Rypien said in a lengthy interview with television station KHQ in his hometown of Spokane, Washington. “Dark places, depression, anxiety, addictions, poor choices, poor decisions, brought about by dozens of concussions and thousands of sub-concussive injuries from playing this sport.”
He describes symptoms similar to those plaguing other former NFL players—impulsiveness, poor short-term memory and particularly suicidal thoughts.
At his lowest, Rypien once attempted suicide.
“I took 150 [Advil] pills and a bottle of booze,” Rypien said. “If it wasn’t for my wife coming home and finding me on the floor, and shoving hydrogen peroxide down my throat, and charcoal, to throw up all these pills, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Rypien’s cousin, Rick Rypien, killed himself in 2011, just before the start of what would have been his first season with the Winnipeg Jets. He was 27.
Rypien played in the NFL from 1986 to 2001, primarily with Washington. He won Super Bowl XXVI after the 1991 season and was named MVP of the game.